Pitch Perfect 2 Review

pitch perfect2I rank comedies on a very simple scale- did it make me laugh? If it did then it did its job. Pitch Perfect 2 made me laugh.  Throw in some good music and you’ve got a fan!

In Utah and particularly my alma mater, BYU, acapella is a huge deal.  I went to many competitions to cheer on my favorite groups and we even had a team on the Sing Off a few years ago.  Acapella is just part of campus life in my book so the first Pitch Perfect had huge nostalgia points for me.

It also did the rare feet of being funny without being too vulgar. I still will frequently put it on and laugh my head off while listening to great music.

So how does Pitch Perfect 2 measure up to the original? Well, it’s a tough question because they are basically the same movie.  They totally do the whole Mighty Ducks 2 thing where you do the exact same plot but you have it be the World Championships instead of the Nationals.

That said, it still made me laugh.

You’ve got all the major players from Pitch Perfect 1 back plus the addition of Hailee Steinfeld as a new legacy freshman to the group.

I love these women!

pitch perfect3Anna Kendrick is great even though Hailee Steinfeld is kind of playing her part from the first movie.  Rebel Wilson steals the movie once again and made me laugh every time she was on screen.  Her confidence as Fat Amy is just so likable, lovely and funny.

pitch perfect10I kind of wish they had developed a few of the other Bellas a little more, and they do go back to the same joke a bit too many times.  For example, a Guatemalan girl named Flo is repeatedly given the immigrant joke and it was naughty the first time but got a little old after a while.

pitch perfect9Elizabeth Banks (who directs) and John Michael Higgins return as the announcers and this time podcasters of the acappella world and they are hilarious.  Every time they are on screen it reminds of Fred Willard in Best in Show and cracked me up. I would love to know how much of their dialogue is improved like the Christopher Guest movies which Higgins is often in.

David Cross from Arrested Development appears briefly along with a cameo that has mostly been spoiled but I will let what few of you that haven’t heard of a certain new acapella team be surprised (was so funny!)

Keegan-Michael Key is very funny as Becca’s boss for an internship she gets at a record label.  He has this hipster employee that drives him crazy which made me laugh.

pitch perfect4The plot is completely stupid.  Basically a wardrobe malfunction happens and the Bellas are suspended from national competition.  However, they can compete at the World Championships (see totally Mighty Ducks 2).  The big competition is a German team called Das Sound Machine.

pitch perfect11For the most part they are the cliched German bad guys but they are given some funny interactions with the girls and they are pretty good singers.  I liked that it at least seemed like a fair fight.

pitch perfect7The boys are mostly relegated to a few scenes which is fine with me.  We need more female heavy pictures especially with female directors!

pitch perfect8Adam DeVine is probably in it the most of the young men and he is very funny as Rebel Wilson’s love interest. His idea of a romantic meal totally cracked me up.

In the end Pitch Perfect 2 isn’t creative or different but I can’t deny that it made me laugh and I loved the music. If you didn’t like the first one and didn’t find it funny than you won’t like this.  It’s as simple as that.  I did so I liked this.  It isn’t as good because first is always best but still I really enjoyed it.

Humor is completely subjective.  What makes one laugh may leave another stone faced and cold but I at least appreciate a comedy that isn’t completely raunchy like we were getting for a while.  There is nothing in Pitch Perfect 2 that made me want to cringe like in the Judd Apatow movies.

For some reason a lot of people that read this blog don’t like comedies.  I don’t really get that. I like to laugh probably more than I like dramas. I also love musicals.  In other words, Pitch Perfect 3- sign me up!

As far as content there is a scene at the beginning where a woman is exposed off camera and it is discussed. There’s talk of making out and sex but it is all pretty tame.  That’s about it.

Overall Grade- B-, Content Grade A

Any of you see it?  Did you think it was funny too?

Night at the Museum 3 Review

night at museum9Not every movie is a masterpiece but you can still enjoy it and that’s how I always felt about the Night at the Museum movies.  They weren’t ‘good’ movies but I liked them and they had enough laughs and overall charm to make them worth a watch.  I kind of feel the same about the National Treasure movies.  I can imagine that back in the day lots of movies were made like them.  Whether it was a stock shoot em up western or a fun action adventure show Hollywood has always made campy family friendly movies that are entertaining if not particularly memorable.

Unfortunately even these innocent franchises can strain the tenuous chord of likability they have and I’m afraid that is what Night at the Museum 3: Secret of the Tomb has done.  Even with such marginal expectations I was really disappointed by it. Especially with the talent, it is a really lame film.

night at museum3If you are unaware of the series it is a pretty simple set up.  Basically Ben Stiller plays a night watchman at the Natural History Museum in New York and each night the characters from the museum become alive including a strange mixture of history and natural history that I don’t think any museum actually has.  We have everything from Atilla the Hun to Teddy Roosevelt to a T-Rex.  It is basically a Toy Story premise with various challenges threatening to shut down the museum and end the nightly lives of our heroes.  The key to making it work is having enough characters and a witty enough script to keep it moderately entertaining.  For instance, Night at the Museum 2 was helped immeasurably by Amy Adams as Amelia Earhart and Bill Hader as General Custer.

Unfortunately in Museum 3 the script isn’t funny enough and the new cast is woefully underused.  The new challenge to the cast of characters is the magical tablet is starting to get a green mold on it and the magic is starting to lessen.  Through convoluted series of events they all have to go to London to find the Egyptian home of the tablet and they all come with Ben Stiller’s Larry.  The main new additions in London are Rebel Wilson as a security guard who doesn’t get one good joke sadly and I love her so much. She tries so hard to get the laughs but the material just isn’t there.

night at museum7They also meet Lancelot played by Dan Stevens who isn’t campy enough.  He isn’t fun enough.  I kept thinking- “You left Lady Mary with a baby for this!”

night at museum4There was one funny scene where Lancelot storms in on Hugh Jackman playing King Arthur in Camelot on a stage.  Got to hand it to Jackman for being willing to laugh at his Wolverine character and public persona.

I kind of felt like Night at the Museum 3 was trying to make a touching send off without giving us a good story on its own.  It’s really a shame because it is our last appearance of Robin Williams and he is the one spot where the goodbye tone feels earned.  I wish there was more for him to do than just say goodbye.

night at museum6To show how this movie wastes talent we have Steve Coogan and Owen Wilson as the miniatures- two of the funniest men out there and their humor just falls flat.  This movie even resorts to characters getting urinated on. I mean that is Adam Sandler territory and with such talent it is a real shame.

night at the museum5The worst part is the time spent with Ben Stiller and his son who wants to skip college and become a DJ.  That’s just what I want in my campy family comedy, teenage father arguments.  I mean how is that fun for kids?

In the end, I went in with very modest, measured expectations but Night at the Museum 3 couldn’t even meet those.  It was just a waste and the only time I laughed was the Hugh Jackman bit and I did like saying goodbye to Robin Williams even if I wish he’d gotten more.

As far as content aside from the urinating monkey there isn’t anything offensive or bothersome. That said, I really don’t think it will have much to entertain kids.  I think they will be bored by a lot of the relationship stuff and Egyptian tomb mumbo jumbo.  I’d say Penguins of Madagascar is much funnier recent family comedy or even Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day.

So in the end I can’t see giving it any higher than a D+